2020 May 4
The Force will be with you, always, if you believe in imagination coming to life.
As children, we have all experienced getting sucked into so many different worlds of superheroes, warlords, villains, robots and otherworldly characters that have caused our imagination to run wild and of course, provided us with a temporary escape route from reality.
Star Wars was first created in 1977 with the release of their very first movie ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ and it soon rose to be one of the greatest pop-culture phenomenons of all time. Since the initial release of their movie was in the 70s, The Star Wars franchise has stolen the hearts of people from different generations and has played a major role in their lives. The worldwide phenomenon made its way to our little island as well, unintentionally creating a community of fanatics who possess a special connection with the characters and the plot of the movies.
Fast forward to 2020, Sri Lanka now holds two major conventions namely, ‘Lanka Comic Con’ organised by the Geek Club of Sri Lanka and ‘Colombo Comic Expo’ organised by Gamer.lk, to celebrate the positive impact that these pop-culture franchises and their characters have, in people’s lives.
In the theme of ‘May The 4th Be With You’, Team Pulse spoke to different fans of Star Wars to find out how they express their love for the franchise, through the creative genes within them. And here’s what we found out!
“With the release of Star Wars movies, they also release original merchandise with the Star Wars logo and they are quite expensive. An average action figure in Sri Lanka sells for around Rs 3000 – 5000. But people purchase it as collectables because the value of these merchandise increases over time.” – Ushan, a collector of merchandise
Ushan has been a fanatic of the Star Wars movies, amongst other DC and Marvel franchises, ever since he was 9 or 10 years old. He was a part of the pop-culture community in Sri Lanka from the very beginning and he also started to befriend and get to know other fanatics via Facebook, back in 2013 and 2014. He collects many different types of merchandise and has also cosplayed in Comic-Con conventions that were held in Sri Lanka, over the past few years. So far, he has collected roughly around 40-50 books, including novels, comics and encyclopedias as well as around 50-60 action figures in total. Since cosplaying takes an adequate amount of time for preparation and since he is working according to a strict schedule, he is mainly a collector. He spoke to us about the value of original merchandise and how it generates more profit for the franchise compared to the movies itself. He revealed to us that the merchandise released over 40-50 years ago, with the release of the original Star Wars series are deemed ‘vintage collectables’ and that they are very high in price, as they are limited edition purchases.
“I grew up with the Star Wars movies. My first collectable was a gift from my parents, it was an 8-inch Interactive R2D2 unit with circuit boards at the back that can be removed. I was 3 or 4 years old when I received it.” – Sean, a collector of merchandise
Star Wars has been a massive part of Sean’s life, ever since he was 3 years old. He spoke to us about different collectables like the Radar Helmet that was available back in the 80s and the different scales of action figures that can be collected. He also spoke to us about the fine line between a toy and a collectable as some collectables come in limited numbers. He also spoke to us about Geek HQ Cafe, that is nestled in the bustling streets of Havelock road, and how they display a bunch of collectables, including a ‘Jabba The Hutt’ 6 scale figurine and other action figures, for anyone who is interested to check it out (after the lockdown period, of course). The coolest thing about Sean’s journey with Star Wars, is that his kids are also now huge fanatics of Star Wars. “The original movies are very nostalgic for me, it’s part of something I grew up with and what I believe in. And for me to get to share that with my four daughters; it’s very personal to me” Sean said. He also raved about how the new trilogy contains female protagonists and how that resonates with his daughters, as lovers of the Star Wars franchise.
“I usually get my costumes tailored and I did my makeup, all by myself. We do special effects make up (SFX Makeup) and it took me 5 hours to get it done. When I first started out, my sister helped me with makeup but now I can do it by myself.” –Oshitha, a cosplayer
Cosplaying is one of Oshitha’s main hobbies. His very first Cosplay was in 2015 when he participated in Sri Lanka Comic-Con that was held in BMICH. Oshitha was not a huge fan of Star Wars in the beginning but eventually started liking it very much. So far, he has cosplayed two Star Wars characters, ‘Grand Admiral Thrawn’ as well as ‘Darth Nihilus’ from the ‘Knights of the old republic’ games. Both these characters are not mainstream characters of the franchise, but he was drawn to these antagonist characters. He spoke to us about transforming into these characters to help bring these characters to life. Oshitha has also performed a skit during the Rogue One premiere organised by the Geek Club. The skit was held before the premiere started, which was ‘Jedi Warriors vs Sith Lords’. He also spoke to us about the preparation and the transformation process of cosplaying and how he gets his costumes tailor-made. He mentioned to us that they even craft their own armour and get their props made and sometimes, it’s a collective process with a little help from their friends.
“I cosplayed at Comic-Con 2019, as Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker. I bought Darth Vader’s helmet from a Comic Con in Paris and I made the costume all by myself. I wanted to push my limits, so I made the lightsaber that I carried by myself too. I even had a voice-changing device, it was an app that was connected to my phone, that transformed my voice into Darth Vader’s voice and the output was from a speaker that I had in my pocket.” – Sithira, a cosplayer
Sithira first cosplayed in 2017, as an Assassin’s Creed Character, Superman from the DC Extended Universe in 2018 and Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker in 2019. He was particularly drawn to Darth Vader’s character, even though he’s an antagonist, because he felt that the character was constantly trying to battle himself. He fell in love with Star Wars from the movies and even performed a skit at Comic-Con last year. It was a funny skit with two other Marvel characters, Cosplaying as Star Wars characters. One character was a mash-up of Deadpool and a Sith Lord, naming the character as ‘Sitpool’ and the other character was a mashup of Thanos and a Sith Lord, combining into ‘Sitnos’. These two characters had posed as Darth Vader’s bodyguards. We know, it really is quite amazing to see how people express their creativity by combining two very different characters and forming entirely new ones.
“My girls participated in a Comic-Con, 2 or 3 years ago. My younger daughter dressed as a girly version of Darth Vader and even won a small prize. Since my entire family loves Star Wars, I’m hoping to Cosplay with my girls in the future, once they are a little older.” – Nimra, mother of 2 daughters who loves to cosplay
Nimra was first introduced to Star Wars by her husband, as he has asked her to watch the movies according to release order before they got married. She has fallen in love with the franchise ever since and has turned her family, colleagues and friends into Star Wars fanatics as well. Now, even her kids watch Star Wars everyday and has cosplayed at a Comic Con, a couple of years ago. Her children are still very young, her older daughter is 7 years old and her younger daughter is 6 years old. The Darth Vader helmet and the Lightsaber that completed her daughter’s costume was purchased from Malaysia. They are planning on purchasing the Lego Death Star and Star Destroyer sets, to build it together as a family and they are hoping to Cosplay as a family in the future, once the girls are a little older. Family goals, am I right?
“I love drawing the robots from Star Wars and Darth Vader. I am fascinated by Xenobiology, which is the study of alien animals. I am intrigued by the planets and their ecosystems in the Star Wars movies.” – Roshan De Selfa, an artist
Roshan started drawing when he was very little without learning art professionally. He was made aware of the Star Wars movies and was very much attracted to them, specifically to the alien characters present in the franchise. He creates pen and pencil sketches, as well as digital illustrations. He started creating art as a hobby, but it has now become his way of life. He is working in the field of Game Development and Animation as a concept artist, as he loves to develop his own characters and create narratives around these characters. Talent? No doubt about it!
“I first started out drawing the Star Wars characters in pencil, but then later my friends surprised me with a graphic tab and I learnt how to draw digitally. I love drawing Star Wars characters with my own personal twist to them.” – Rakitha, an artist
Star Wars was introduced to Rakitha by his father, but he properly fell in love with the franchise when he watched Revenge of the Sith with his brother. He has been drawing for a very long time and he started drawing Star Wars characters when he was around 13-14 years old. He loves taking Star Wars characters out of context and drawing them in a way that adds his own personal twist to them. It is his way of escaping reality. He hopes to improve his drawings and he is practicing to draw better, specially to master the anatomy of the characters in his art. We hope to see more cool art from Rakitha, in the future.
Aside from these creative souls, there are also fanfiction writers in Sri Lanka who writes their own version of fiction stories, based on the Star Wars characters. Taking into account that these pop-culture franchises are the products of human imagination itself, it is a testament to everyone out there to believe in your imagination and your creative juices and an encouragement to follow your passion and dreams, whatever it may be. Never stop creating. And to end this article in style, until next time, May The Force Be With You!
*Thumbnail image illustration by Roshan De Selfa (Instagram: @line.demon)